America to Bhutanese People's Eyes: After One Year


The root of the challenge is bitter, but the fruit tastes sweet. Some of the Idahoan-Bhutanese have been in Idaho for almost two years. For every individual, at first life was full of challenges. People were worried about finding jobs and getting adjusted to change in the environment and culture. At that time, the economy of the U.S. was moving south and for the ESL people it was tough time to find a good job. All the Bhutanese were full of fear of how to keep their lives on track.

But slowly the people started feeling more comfortable with ongoing social and environmental changes. Some of them got jobs and proceeded ahead in building their careers. By now almost all the early immigrant have a job, a car and good access to technology. Some of us even have a brand new laptop, etc. Some of us are studying in college and are supported by government financial aid. No one had ever thought about all these things while back in the refugee camp. By now some of us know how to do banking and use debit and credit cards and even to pay utility bills online.

More than 100,000 Bhutanese refugees spent almost 17 years of their lives in refugee camps. Their houses were made out of bamboo and thatch. Camps were situated in the eastern lowlands of Nepal. Huts were arranged in a rows and columns with a maximum of 10 to 15 feet gap between them. These clusters of huts look amazing from the sky. The huts were numbered and grouped from units to sectors to entire camps. Even a single hut was separated into rooms for individual people living in one family. There was no electricity in the camp. The people used to use kerosene lamps for light. Though there was a school, the teaching and learning process was very poor. Think about it ... there was no electricity in the school. Still some of the students of these schools became doctors and engineers in Nepal. Isn't this amazing?

These camps were protected by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). For living, the people were given rations every 15 days with a maximum of 5 kg rice per person. Moreover they were given cereals, sugar, salt and vegetables every week and the people used to use domestic coal to cook food. For water, these people used tap water, for which they were supposed to wait on a long queue for a liter of water.

Bhutanese always make comparisons between their living standard while in the refugee camp and and in the USA. And some of them don't mind doing any kind of job because of their past life experience. Now Idahoan Bhutanese are hoping that sooner or later they will have a beautiful house and a good job where their family lives together and enjoys their American life.

Though the start was hard, slowly the people are getting on track and all Idahoan-Bhutanese are waiting for that fine day to come in their life.